A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by

Amor Towles

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The Count’s sister, a gentle and kind girl who died at the age of twenty of scarlet fever while the Count was in Paris. He had loved her dearly and been very protective of her, particularly after both their parents had died when they were young. He views missing her last months as one of the great tragedies of his life.

Helena Quotes in A Gentleman in Moscow

The A Gentleman in Moscow quotes below are all either spoken by Helena or refer to Helena. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of A Gentleman in Moscow published in 2016.
Book 1, 1922, An Ambassador Quotes

From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. […] But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn't welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends.

Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

And when the Count's parents succumbed to cholera within hours of each other in 1900, it was the Grand Duke who took the young Count aside and explained that he must be strong for his sister’s sake; that adversity presents itself in many forms; and that if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.

Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 2, 1926, Adieu Quotes

And he believed, most especially, in the reshaping of destinies by the slightest change in the thermometer.

Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helena Character Timeline in A Gentleman in Moscow

The timeline below shows where the character Helena appears in A Gentleman in Moscow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, 1922, An Ambassador
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...of her plates, two table lamps made from ebony elephants, a portrait of his sister, Helena, a leather case that had been made especially for him, all of his books, and... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...to say goodbye to possessions. The Count takes one additional object—a pair of his sister Helena’s scissors—and says goodbye to the rest of the family heirlooms. (full context)
Book 1, An Anglican Ashore
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...tilted chair had long been a habit of the Count’s; in his youth, he and Helena would spend many days together in which he would read aloud as she embroidered. In... (full context)
Book 1, Archaeologies
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...the church or the ruling class. Then the two friends would go in search of Helena, where the Count would tell her ridiculous tales of what had happened to him at... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...twelve, Mishka and the Count toast not only to the Grand Duke but also to Helena and the Countess, to Russia and the Rostov estate, to poetry and any other worthy... (full context)
Book 1, Advent
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
...smells of perfume or the smoke of a fireplace. He reminisces about how he and Helena would venture out on Christmas Eve, braving the cold to visit neighbors and enjoy feasts... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...mind wanders to his youth as he remembers his Christmases as a child. He and Helena would wait all night until his father would give the signal to open the drawing... (full context)
Book 2, 1923, An Actress, an Apparition, an Apiary
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...anew. He says that he would not want to relinquish his memories: of his sister Helena, of his home, and of this night. Anna stands, takes him by the collar and... (full context)
Book 2, 1924, Anonymity
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...family feuds and eccentricities were essential. The Count had labored over these seating puzzles, telling Helena that if Paris had not been seated next to Helen, the Trojan War would never... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
...late relatives. The Count decides that on June 22nd, 1926—the tenth anniversary of his sister Helena’s death—he will drink to her, and then kill himself. (full context)
Book 2, 1926, Adieu
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...Seven months later, the Count had returned to the family estate and finds his sister Helena with the young Hussar officer. He had sought out the Count’s sister and courted her... (full context)
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...Count waited, hoping that the officer would slip up and reveal his true nature. On Helena’s twentieth birthday, the officer returned to the estate. When she rushed to meet him, she... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...to Paris by his grandmother as punishment. But while he was in Paris—exactly ten years ago—Helena had died of scarlet fever, and the Count was unable to be by her side. (full context)
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
The Count takes out the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and pours a glass. He raises it to Helena and drinks. He approaches the parapet and says goodbye to his country. But just as... (full context)
Book 4, 1950, Adagio, Andante, Allegro
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...be fading. The Count tells Sofia that he used to feel the same way about Helena. He goes on to explain how the ballroom was one of Nina’s favorite rooms, and... (full context)
Book 5, Apotheosis
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...necklace, donning the Italian clothes that the Count had stolen weeks before. She then takes Helena’s scissors, which her father had given her, and cuts off her hair. She uses the... (full context)